Why Putin fears the Ukrainian Catholic Church

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2015/06/09 • Analysis & Opinion

Article by: Vitaliy Portnikov

Vladimir Putin’s assistant Yuri Ushakov said that the situation in Ukraine would be one of the central themes of the meeting on Wednesday, June 10, between Putin and Pope Francis. In itself the statement is not at all surprising. Especially since, in addition to Ukraine,  Putin also intends to discuss a number of other issues with the pope, including the situation of Christians in the Middle East — a priority for the Vatican.

But something else is of interest. Putin is preparing to discuss the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church with the pope. Ushakov specifically noted that during the discussions on Ukraine they may mention “aspects of Uniate activity in the country.” And one can assume that the pope will not hear anything positive. Even the phrase used by Ushakov appears to be copied from a Soviet history textbook, where it was explained how the Uniate traitors fought with the Orthodox on Ukrainian and Belorusian lands and promoted the “Western infection.” The expression was strange even then: the Bolsheviks, as is well known, themselves fought brutally with the Orthodox Church and is fact destroyed it. But this definition was taken from imperial history textbooks. Everything was clear there. “Little Russia” and Belarus are all Russian. Orthodoxy is the Russian faith. Uniates are agents of the West. Now  everything has fallen into place.

And, by the way, the destruction of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church after the Second World War was important proof that the Communists were returning to the old imperial doctrine. These were not only repressions against the church. These were primarily repressions against civilization — Ukrainian and European. And when the Ukrainian Catholic Church began its revival during the years of Perestroika, its priests were told they did not belong here. Why didn’t they belong? Because, according to the Russian view, Ukraine is the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church. It is Russian land. And the “Uniates,” associated with the Vatican, would only sow doubts about the correctness of this thesis. And this is why there was nothing wrong in Stalin’s decision to destroy the “foreign church.” Stalin knew what he was doing.

Vladimir Putin obviously considers himself the heir to Stalin. He even has additional opportunities: the Russian president, for example, can complain about the activity of the “Uniates” to the Pope himself. And the fact that he is the head of a secular state that is supposed to guarantee the equality of religions is of no concern to Putin. Because, despite all the constitutional norms, the government of that state decides by itself exactly which denominations are to be supported and which ones are to be declared “harmful.”

In Russia itself life is not that simple for the Roman Catholics either, much less for the Greek Catholics. And since in Putin’s mind Ukraine is also Russia, then there can be no room for the “Uniates” in the country coveted by the new emperor. And perhaps it is a good thing that Vladimir Putin will discuss all this with the Pope, so that the latter has, as they say, no more illusions.

Translated by: Anna Mostovych
Source: Espreso TV

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  • Richardson McPhillips

    And after the Ukrainian Greek Catholics, the Orthodox jurisdictions who don’t bow to Moscow. The pseudo-Synod of 1946 made the Ukrainian Orthodox Church illegal as well as the Ukrainian Catholic Church. Only the Russian Orthodox Church (and the Roman Catholic Church as a Polish foreign entity) was allowed.

  • Brent

    I think Pope Francis will have no trouble standing up to Putin unlike his KGB controlled Patriarch Kiril. If the stories about Russia using mobile crematoriums to burn the remains of dead soldiers in Donbass are accurate, then Putin and Kiril are both going against the position of their Orthodox faith which does not accept cremation.

    As well, with Kiril’s recent decree to patrons of the Moscow patriarchy in Ukraine that they are no longer obligated to obey Kyiv wreaks of him being nothing more than a Kremlin shill. He should be more worried and preaching against the murderous kleptocrat Russian government and their ant-Christian practices of supporting neo-Nazi’s, supporting kidnapping, murder and terrorism and outright theft of part of Ukraine’s sovereign territory.

  • Peter K

    When Attila the Hun marched against Rome, Pope Leo rode out to meet him, and convinced Attila to turn his armies back and leave Italy in peace.
    Perhaps Pope Francis can convince Putin the Khuylo to turn his armies back and leave Ukraine in peace.

  • Tmos

    Putin fears the church because he is the Anti-Christ. The cross makes his skin burn.